16 May Christine Ohuruogu thinks passionate crowd will help GB & NI challenge for victory at the European Athletics Team Championships
Christine Ohuruogu is adamant that team spirit and the backing of a passionate crowd will help Great Britain and Northern Ireland challenge for victory at the European Athletics Team Championships, which takes place on 22-23 June at Gateshead International Stadium.
Speaking in Gateshead on Tuesday (14 May), Ohuruogu revealed that she wants to contribute her experience at the meeting, and thinks that the British success at the London 2012 Games has built a solid platform to unseat Russia as champions.
The Londoner, who lives a stones-throw away from the Olympic stadium where she clinched the silver medal in the 400m, adding to the gold medal she won in Beijing in 2008, said: “I think we have enough talent to do a good job.”
Ohuruogu admits a new season always brings new challenges and this year the British team is in a buoyant mood as it builds on the Olympic achievements that thrilled the nation. Now she believes the GB & NI Team can carry on the collective form at the European Athletics Team Championships.
“As a legacy it’s important to be successful on home soil and have a strong team. It’s almost a year ago and it’s important to keep the legacy going.” added the former England netball player, adamant the knowledgeable Gateshead crowd can play its part in encouraging the side to raise its game.
Having competed in front of a North East crowd at the 2008 and 2009 Aviva British Grand Prix and the Great North CityGames in 2009, she believes its enthusiasm will give the Brits a head start.
She said: “The crowd is one of the most impressive I have ever competed in front of. It poured down during my last race there which was the last of the day, but all of them waited to watch and afterwards were screaming for photos and autographs. It’s amazing to see how people back our sport.”
There is a nationwide demand for tickets for the June event, with 20,000 already sold over the 2 days, and less than 2,000 remaining for each day of action.
Admitting there was a lot of pre-Olympic Games pressure, she said: “I think for a lot of people 2012 was probably the hardest thing we’ve ever been through – it always hovered like a cloud and you never quite knew how you would come out at the end of it.
“It’s only once it’s gone that you realise the sun still rises and life still goes on. The whole time we were faced with ‘will I make it, will I not make it?’, so I think a lot of athletes can relax a little bit.”
Her recent preparations in Florida have already proved fruitful, with her running a superb third leg in the 4x400m relay squad at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, where they narrowly failed to defeat Team USA.
Ohuruogu has already shown impressive early season form with one of her fastest starts to any season at last Friday’s Diamond League meeting in Doha, with a time of 50.53, and the previous weekend at the Jamaican Invitational in Kingston where she clocked 50.58.